24/07/2013 05:07 BST | Updated 22/09/2013 06:12 BST

The Varied Role of Apprentice Champion - Fish Markets to Fighter Jets


Little did I realise when I took on the National Apprentice Champion role that I would be getting up at five in the morning to be at Billingsgate fish market to have a master class in how to fillet fish with current apprentices. This was just the start of my very exciting day, swapping jobs with Skills Minister, Matthew Hancock MP. A very different but varied day for me.

Since winning the National Apprentice Champion award, I have participated in many interviews, careers talks and science fairs highlighting the importance and benefits of Apprenticeships. I truly believe that my Apprenticeship gave me the chance to work out what I actually wanted to do, gain hands on experience and qualifications, as well as work out what my strengths and weaknesses were before making a decision on a job role.

After completing my advanced Apprenticeship in Aeronautical Engineering with BAE Systems in 2011, I began work as a Mechanical Manufacturing Engineer on the Eurofighter: Typhoon aircraft on the main production line at our Warton site in the North West - a superb career choice. Since then, I have moved into a development role within our Communications team (January 2013) looking after the Military Aircraft community investment strategy, as well as our annual Chairman's Awards scheme that recognises employees doing amazing things within our business. This role looks to develop my people skills as well communicating to various people at different levels in the business.

From sitting in the Minister's weekly update meetings about further education and Apprenticeships, to attending a ministerial team meeting chaired by Secretary of State, Vince Cable and a three hour parliamentary debate in the House of Commons on the future of Apprenticeships, it was a non-stop day. However, it didn't end there, I then went to see the Minister take part in an economic debate on Channel 4 News and BBC Newsnight, which concluded my very productive job swap day at 11.30pm.

Although I don't think I am ready to move careers to politics just yet, I can confidently say I had a wonderful day and I can't wait to show the Minister just how we build military aircraft at BAE Systems at Warton later this year. I had a real insight to how the UK's political system works and actually how hard politicians do work, despite what the papers may say.

Taking part in something like this was a fantastic opportunity for me personally, and I hope that I represented all the thousands of apprentices in the UK in the best possible way. Something I have really taken away from the day was that everyone involved in politics, regardless of their party, was really passionately committed to the future and development of young people, especially where Apprenticeships are concerned.